The Hawks have interviewed Nate McMillan for their head coaching position today, reports Yahoo! NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski. The team has not yet let go of current head coach Larry Drew, whose contract expires June 30th.
Atlanta's general manager, Danny Ferry, plans to conduct interviews with other candidates as well, but isn't ruling out the option of extending Drew's contract should no suitable coaches take his offer.
McMillan's last coaching stint came with the Trail Blazers, where he coached for seven seasons before being let go in 2012. The Hawks are also interested in Stan Van Gundy, but it's unlikely the former Magic coach returns to the NBA next season.
According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Bucks have been prioritizing "strong-willed" candidates as they search for a head coach to replace ousted interim coach Jim Boylan. In his latest piece, Berger sheds some light on one reason for that requirement and touches on a couple other Bucks notes. Let's check out the highlights....
TUESDAY, 10:51pm: A source tells ESPN that Jackson is still open to coaching if he has a say on the roster, tweets ESPN L.A.'s Ramona Shelburne. Shelburne says that the legendary coach would prefer a front office gig, but would be willing to coach if he had power within the franchise. Jackson is a in "listen mode," not "look mode," Shelburne tweets, adding that it would have to be a perfect fit, a la Pat Riley in Miami (Twitter links here).
5:18pm: Jackson is not interested in a return to coaching and therefore will not become the next coach of the Nets, reports Tim Bontemps of the New York post, citing a league source. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski confirms the Post report, also tweeting that Jackson's inclination remains to make his NBA return in a "broader management role."
MONDAY, 8:30pm: The Nets have contacted Phil Jackson about the possibility of becoming their next coach, a source told Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. After Jackson, the source says the list of current Nets' candidates consists of Larry Brown and Brian Shaw.
Nate McMillan, Jeff Van Gundy, and Stan Van Gundy aren't on the list, the source said, but that could change if the Nets strike out on their aforementioned top three choices. Celtics coach Doc Rivers would interest the Nets though if the Celtics agree to let him out of his current contract, the source said.
Jerry Sloan is a long-shot candidate for the gig, even though Deron Williams recently endorsed him. Nets GM Billy King understands that Jackson is not likely to come to Brooklyn to coach, but he is open to bringing Jackson into the front-office, according to the source. Jackson would perhaps join the Nets as the team's president while also getting a slice of stake in the club's ownership.
Shaw would be a likely coaching candidate if Jackson joined the Nets front office thanks to the prior ties between the two.
Earlier this morning, we passed along word that the Sixers have received permission to interview Michael Malone and Jeff Hornacek for their head coaching position. Philadelphia is currently one of four teams actively seeking a new coach, but that number figures to increase in the coming weeks. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has a little more on the Sixers and other teams exploring the coaching market, so let's round up the highlights from his piece:
3:21pm: The Bobcats have also requested permission to interview Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Sampson's Rockets remain active in the postseason, though the team is one loss away from elimination.
2:19pm: According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link), Pistons GM Joe Dumars met with McMillan last week. Ownership is expected to be involved in today's formal interview, says Wojnarowski.
1:02pm: While the Cavaliers struck quickly to fill their head coaching opening, two other Eastern Conference lottery teams appear to be moving at a more deliberate pace. The Pistons have begun to interview candidates, according to Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News, who tweets that Lindsey Hunter interviewed with the team yesterday, while Nate McMillan will do so today.
McMillan and Hunter appear to be the early favorites for the Pistons' coaching job, but they're unlikely to be the only candidates interviewed by the club. With 14 teams still alive in the postseason, teams searching for a new head coach may have to wait until later in the spring to seek permission to interview assistants on those playoff clubs.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats have asked for the Cavaliers' permission to talk to assistant coach Nate Tibbetts, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). If that story sounds familiar, it may be because the Bobcats interviewed the Cavs assistant a year ago, before eventually hiring Mike Dunlap.
The Bobcats seem to be revisiting a number of past candidates, having also been linked this month to Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and former Lakers assistant Quin Snyder, both of whom were interviewed by Charlotte last spring.
The Pistons have opened the interview process in their search for a new coach and are slated to meet with Nate McMillan, NBA coaching sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. McMillan would appear to be an early favorite for the job alongside Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter this week.
McMillan was recently said to be the frontrunner for the job, however the former Sonics coach later said that he had yet to talk to Joe Dumars & Co. Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson is also projected to be in the mix when Houston's playoff run is over.
McMillan also openly campaigned to hook on with the Kings if they moved to Seattle. However, the vote earlier today from the league's relocation committee likely means that the team will be staying put in Sacramento.
When I asked yesterday which playoff team down 2-0 in the first round had the best chance of coming back and advancing, over half of you picked the Grizzlies. Memphis delivered on the first step of that comeback last night, holding the Clippers to 82 points en route to a Game Three win.
Meanwhile, the Rockets only received about 5% of the votes in that poll, but their chances likely improved with word from the Thunder that Russell Westbrook will undergo surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. As we wait for official word on a timetable for Westbrook's return, let's check out a few notes from around the Western Conference:
While the Cavaliers' coaching search involved reaching out to Phil Jackson, it appears unlikely that the 11-time champion will be interested in Cleveland's rebuilding project, as Bob Finnan of the News-Herald writes. Finnan has plenty of other details on the team's search to replace Byron Scott on the bench though, so let's dive in and check out the highlights....
7:53pm: McMillan also tells The Plain Dealer that the Cavs have not spoken to him about their opening.
7:35pm: McMillan tells Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune that neither he nor agent Lonnie Cooper has had contact with an NBA team about its coaching position (Twitter link).
6:55pm: Sources tell Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News that Nate McMillan has emerged as the frontrunner for the Pistons head coaching vacancy. The Pistons are seeking a proven coach, and it seems McMillan, whose record in 478-452 with the Blazers and Sonics, fits the bill for them. Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News heard last week that McMillan was a potential candidate.
McMillan has apparently expressed interest in the Cavs head coaching job as well, and he's been expected to interview for the Sixers opening. McMillan said in March that he's "definitely looking to get back into coaching" and expressed interest in coaching the Kings if they moved to Seattle and parted ways with Keith Smart. McMillan's name came up when the Nets and Lakers changed coaches in the middle of this past season. He interviewed with the Bobcats last summer.
The 48-year-old former point guard last coached in the NBA with the Blazers, who fired him at the trade deadline in March 2012. He's coached parts of 12 seasons in the NBA, but has only once taken a team past the first round of the playoffs, with the Sonics in 2004/05. He was an assistant coach on Team USA's Olympic squads in 2008 and 2012, both of which won gold medals.
A majority of Hoops Rumors readers don't believe Phil Jackson will consider coaching the Cavs, even though a source tells Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio that Jackson would "absolutely" listen if the team called. While the Zen Master is far and away the biggest name associated with the team's search, there are plenty of other candidates, and there's news on several of them this morning: